Sea Shepherd Activists Confront Japanese Whalers
By B. McPherson
Sea Shepherd’s Operation Divine Wind encountered the Japanese vessel Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Southern Ocean launching containers of rotten butter and paint at the whaling ship. The Sea Shepherd Society has been active in trying to thwart the killing of whales in the conservation area for eight seasons. While the Japanese government maintains that the whales are killed for research purposes and has gone so far as to paint “Research” on the sides of their vessels, few truly believe that a quota of 1000 dead whales each year constitutes research.
Each year the confrontations between the activists and the whalers become more dangerous. The latest saw the Sea Shepherd people in small, fast outboard vessels harassing the whalers with stinking butter. The Japanese responded with concussion grenades and teargas. Source News.com
Information about the latest incident is still sketchy but it has been reported that three anti-whaling people have been injured. Grappling hooks and sharp bamboo poles were used against the activists. The whalers report that a Sea Shepherd activist was seen with a knife near their anti-boarding nets.
The Society has two large vessels operating in the Antarctic, the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker. Their third vessel, the Brigitte Bardot was disabled in rough weather and is off the scene. They also deploy a helicopter and new this year, a drone.
Security has been beefed up on the Japanese ships this year. There have been allegations that the money to finance the whaling expedition has come from the tsunami and earthquake relief fund.